Google faces a ban on some Pixel phones and Nest smart home devices as it loses a patent-infringement case to Sonos
Sonos filed a claim with the US ITC in February 2020, alleging that Google had infringed on 5 of its patents pertaining to the ability to control its smart speaker line-up of the time using a smartphone's hardware volume buttons. The rest of the IP apparently describes the ability to sync multiple devices over the same network, and the set-up of a device that can control playback for use on a given network
Now, the decision in its favor has been ratified by a judge, meaning the defendant needs to make changes to the products involved or possibly have them banned from the market. According to Sonos, these devices include phones of the Pixel 3 and 4 series; the Nest Hub; the Nest Mini; some Chromecast TV sticks and the Pixelbook Go laptop.
Some of these, particularly the smart home products, are Google's most successful hardware products in the US market. The court ruling means that the OEM must remove, or otherwise work around, the features found to copy those of Sonos too closely.
The Mountain View giant has reportedly already started to do so with Chromecasts, for example, which had their ability to change volume levels in response to a user's smartphone buttons with the upgrade to Android 12, then re-instated in a different manner. Therefore, Google appears confident that it can complete all the required changes by the 60-day deadline imposed by the ITC.